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Great Britain's flag Great Britain's RAF aircraft marking

Great Britain's Fairey Firefly fighter, fighter bomber

Photos

  • Fairey Firefly Mk I
  • Fairey Firefly fighter
  • Fairey Firefly fighter-reconnaissance
  • Fairey Firefly F Mk III fighter
  • Fairey Firefly FR Mk I fighter-reconnaissance
  • Fairey Firefly FR Mk I fighter-reconnassiance
  • Fairey Firefly FR Mk V fighter-reconnaissance
  • Fairey Firefly Mk I fighter
  • Fairey Firefly
  • Fairey Firefly
  • Fairey Firefly

Design

The Fairey Firefly was a more powerful Fulmar and developed starting in 1940.2,3

The Fulmar was of an all-metal construction with its wings low on the fuselage.3

Had Fairey-Youngman flaps which allowed for high manouverability.1,2

The pilot had a large canopy which provided an excellent view.1

Prototype

On December 22, 1941 was the Fireflys first flight.1,2,3,4 The next three prototypes flew in March 1942, August 1942, and September 1942.3

The Mk IV prototype first flew in May 1945.2

Production

Initially 200 were ordered for the British Fleet Air Arm.1,2

  • Prototypes: 42
  • Fairey Firefly F.I: 4292
    • Fairey: 2972
    • General Aircraft: 1322
  • Fairey Firefly FR.I: 2362
  • Fairey Firefly NF.I: 1402
  • Fairey Firefly NF.II: 371,2
  • Total: 8501, 9503, 1,6232, 1,7024
    • Manufacturer: Fairey Aviation Co. Ltd.1,3, General Aircraft3
    • Production: 1943 - 19461, ? - November 19463

Produced until 1955.2

Variants

  • Firefly F. Mk I: Fighter.2,4
  • Firefly F. Mk IA: Added ASH radar.4
  • Firefly FR. Mk I: Fighter reconnaissance.2,4 Added an American ASH radar under the nose.1,2,4
  • Firefly NF. Mk I: Conversion to a night fighter with the ASH radar.1,2,4
  • Firefly NF. Mk II: Production night fighter with the AI. Mk X radar added to both wings.1,2,4
  • Firefly F. Mk III: Had Griffon 61 engine.4 Prototype.4
  • Firefly Mk IV, Firefly FR. Mk IV4: Post World War II.2,4 Had Griffon 74 engine (2,190 HP).2,4 Had a four blade propeller.2 Radiator moved to the wing root.2

Usage

Deliveries started in March 1943 and service starting in October 1943.1,2,3,4

First Battle

In July 1944 the No. 1770 Squadron, aboard the HMS Indefatigable, were used in raids on the Tirpitz.1,2,3,4

Over Britain

In 1944 Fairey Firefly NF. Mk Is intercepted He 111s carrying V-1 flying bombs.1

Against Japan

On January 2, 1945 a Firefly had it's first air-to-air victory against a Japanese Nakajima Ki-43.1

In January 1945 Fireflys from the HMS Indefatigable were used in the attacks on oil refineries in Sumatra.1,2,3

In June 1945 three squadrons of Fireflys were used in the Caroline Islands.1

In July 1945 the Firefly was the first British aircraft to fly over Tokyo during attacks.2,3

Once World War II was over, the Fireflys were used to drop supplies to POWs still in camps throughout Japan.2

Korean War

The Firefly was used during the Korean War.2,4

Specifications

  Fairey Firefly
Type Reconnaissance fighter5
Crew 25
Pilot, Radio operator / Navigator / Observer5
Engine (Type) Rolls-Royce Griffon II5
Cylinders V 125
Cooling Liquid5
HP 2,0005
Propeller blades Rotol 3 blade constant speed5
Dimensions  
Span 44' 6"5
13.6 m5
Length 37' 7"5
11.4 m5
Height 13' 7"5
4.45 m5
Armament  
Wings 4: 20 mm Hispano5
  Fairey Firefly Mk I
Type Reconnaissance fighter1,2, Fighter3,4, Fighter-bomber1,2
Crew 21,2,3,4
Engine (Type) Rolls-Royce Griffon IIB piston1,2,3,4
OR Rolls-Royce Griffon XII2
Cylinders V 123,4
Cooling Liquid3
HP IIB: 1,7301,2,3, 1,7354
XII: 1,9902
Propeller blades 31,2
Dimensions  
Span 44' 6"1,2,3,4
13.56 m1,2,4
Length 37' 7"1,3,4, 37' 7.25"2
11.46 m1,2,4
Height 13' 7"1,2,3,4
4.14 m1,2,4
Wing area 326 ft2 1, 328 sq ft4
30.47 m2 1,4
Weight  
Empty 9,731 lb1 , 9,750 lb2,4
4,423 kg1,2,4
Loaded 13,990 lb1, 14,020 lb2,3,4
6,359 kg1,2,4
Performance  
Speed at sea level 284 mph2
457 kph2
Speed @ 14,000' /
4,265 m
316 mph1,3,4
509 kph1,4
Speed @ 17,000' /
5,182 m
319 mph2
513 kph2
Cruising speed 204 mph2
329 kph2
Climb 1,700'/minute2
518 m/minute2
Service ceiling 28,000'1,2,3,4
8,534 m2,4, 8,535 m1
Range 774 miles2, 1,300 miles1,3,4
1,246 km2, 2,092 km1,4
Maximum range 1,070 miles2
1,722 km2
Armament  
Wings 4: 20 mm2,3,4
4: 20 mm Hispano1
Rockets 8: 60 lb1,2,4
8: 27 kg1,2, 27.2 kg4
OR  
Bombs 2: 1,000 lb1,2,4
2: 454 kg1,2,4

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  4. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, 1998, Chris Bishop
  5. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site